Dutch

Photograph AdS

Today, #bloganuary asked for my favourite pictures. As they are of people I love, I am not posting them to protect their privacy. So, here is a picture of a Dutch mill I took.

Mysterious

Photography Simon Folkard

His skin white as milk.
With one short, swift, smooth movement,
eviscerated.

Parting flesh coloring red
unfolding like a flower.
Holding tight the knife
feeling his warm skin unfold
he sighed only once.

A flash of regret
she watched how his blood trails joined
for the dance of death.

*a haiku-tanka-haiku poem for #Bloganuary

Three books at a time

Photograph AdS

Today’s topic for #Bloganuary is what book(s) you are reading. For me, that is always plural. I read in threes for books and in twos for magazines.

Magazines

For continued law education, I read magazines from the American Bar Association and the American Society for Criminology. It keeps me up to date on the latest developments. I don’t read them cover to cover as of course, some topics either do not apply or interest me. But, I do scan the latest decisions and recommended readings. This is general daytime reading.

Fun fun and also to keep myself curious, I read the BBC History Magazine. I love history. This magazine always has great articles, pictures, book reviews, interviews, and even historic recipes although to be honest, I never tried those. A lot of their book reviews have made it to my bookmarked file and from those, several are in my to-read pile. This is general day or evening reading.

Books

I read three books at a time but each category has its own assigned time slot. Books for continued law education are for daytime reading and are the first to be read. I review some of them on my website. After a chapter of two, I switch to books that I read to review on my website as per agreement with authors and publishers. This is still daytime reading. Books for fun come last but they cover the evening and usually run into midnight or later. So, what am I reading now in those three categories?

For continued education

Forensics; what bugs, burns, prints, DNA, and more tell us about crime by Val McDermid. I will review this book when done.

To Review

Partners in Crime, the next installment in the series ‘The Best New True Crime Stories’ by Mitzi Szereto. The review will be up soon.

For fun

The Council of Twelve from the series ‘A Hangman’s Daughter’ by Oliver Pötzsch. I read a few books in this series. The first book, I read cover to cover. I have to admit that some later books are about 25% too long. Some scenes are drawn out and slow down the book’s pace. Anyway, I am still curious and so far I am on page 157. The book has 496 pages.

What are you reading?

Dinner is served!

Cooking and photography by AdS

Today’s prompt is about superpowers. Which one would I like to have and why? My first reaction was to be able to apparate. This way, I can visit my family whenever I want while of course, respecting another country’s covid19 restrictions.

But then it occurred to me that again, all these prompts in #Bloganuary are about me, me, me. And it shouldn’t be.

So, what superpower would I use to help others? I would like to fill everyone’s belly with at least one warm meal a day.

If everyone had dinner covered, it would reduce everyone’s stress levels. No worries about grocery shopping or finding time to cook. Not even worrying about money to buy groceries for dinner, no. Fresh fruits, vegetables, and meat are expensive. If that falls away, there would be room to use available funds for other meals, bills, anything. But even if no other funds were available, knowing that you have a dinner every day, that you can sit down with family and others, enjoy a good meal, relax, that is priceless.

When we eat we do much more than just making sure we get in enough calories for our energy. We sit, we relax, we reset our minds, think about something else even if it is a tiny detail such as the pattern on the dinner plates or wondering what you are actually eating, what it tasts like, and if it reminds you of anything.

It soothes the soul to know that someone made this effort for you and it affirms, that you matter. Too many people these days doubt they do.

After dinner, you might think differently about the day’s issues and problems. You might even find solutions as your brain had a moment to breath and relax.

Who knows what we could accomplish together if we sat down, ate a good meal, and mulled things over?

Justice

Photography Simon Folkard

Those who know me from my professional site know what my answer is to today’s prompt for #Bloganuary: justice.

I could go into academic mode to tell you why justice matters, the social aspects of it, the economic consequences for people of colour, the disadvantages for some in the criminal justice system, etc. But, you can google that for yourself.

Before all the podcasts, YouTube channels, and tv shows, there were writers like me blogging about cases, posting honest reviews, reviewing old unsolved cases, and exploring what modern technology could do to advance those cases. That’s why I write.

Many cold cases have no web presence or a very limited one. With the Internet as a primary source for information gathering it is crucial that those developing new technologies can find these old cold cases. That’s why I write.

Many things have changed in the past few decades. Old but properly preserved evidence can be tested for DNA and it has already made a huge difference. Cross-referenced databases of the missing and the unidentified has provided us with answers as well. Now with familial DNA and ancestry databases, we can try to find relatives of the one who left their DNA at the crime scene provided of course, that we respect people’s privacy.

Not every newspaper has online archives. If they do, not all editions are online or they are hidden behind a pay wall. Many local newspapers are not available on microfilm in public libraries. Last, cases without a famous person plugging it, get snowed under. And that’s why I still write.

Calm before the storm

Coffee and Photograph by AdS
Coffee and Photograph by AdS

I just read Trent‘s #weekendcoffeeshare and thought how long ago it was since I stopped by a coffeeshop to sit, drink coffee, read or journal. Pre-pandemic times!

We are bracing for the winter storm called ‘Izzy.’ This little booger is gonna dump heavy snow, sleet, ice, then snow, and maybe some ice again before everything moves out of my area. This means that Sunday and Monday are subject to many changes. Not just the smooth moving in of the students for the Spring semester, not just people flying in as guests, but also for us locals to run around town. There were lines at the pump.

Yesterday, I did the weekly groceries. The ladies at the checkout counters were worried. They saw a lot of panic shopping and knew that with the storm and the after-party of cleaning up, truck deliveries would be delayed so, they worried about empty shelves on Tuesday and Wednesday.

As a precaution, I am gonna check our battery stash. Will leave flashlights, batteries, candles, and matches on the breakfast table tonight. Easy to find in the dark. Might even run an extra load of laundry and the dishes jus in case the electricity goes south for a while.

So what can I do to keep me busy when we get snowed in? I have books galore. My to-read pile is still embarrassingly high. I picked these three to be read next starting this weekend:

for continued learning purposes: Forensics by Val McDermid

for a book review: Partners in Crime by Mitzi Szereto

for fun: The Council of Twelve by Oliver Pötzsch

I am out of coffee. Can anyone get me another?

Selfcare matters

Photo by Madison Inouye on Pexels.com

Today’s #bloganuary prompt is: What is a life lesson everyone can benefit from learning? My answer is obvious.

1: learn to say no

Saying ‘no’ isn’t just crucial to convey you do not consent. It isn’t just boundaries.It is selfcare. It is all to easy for some people to continuously ask you to do things. They make it sound so nice: you are so much better at this than I am or, with your experience you can whip this up real fast or, they make it sound as if by doing this we make a third party happy because we ‘worked together.’ Stop it, really.

There is nothing wrong with helping others and in fact, I encourage it. However, there’s a limit. I frequently hear these hidden messages: you are a writer, right? Didn’t you study law, can you look at this?

There is a fine line between asking a favour and expecting one. It is difficult to describe but you feel it the minute it happens as your guts says ‘again?’ Listen to it!

2: make time for yourself

There are only so many hours in the day. I wish we could all sleep in, have a 2 hour lunch break so we can take a quick nap, and no work after 6pm. Unfortunately, this isn’t possible. We don’t sleep enough, there’s still a stigma when someone takes a nap during the day, and who can say ‘no’ to the boss when emails come in at 8pm?

But there’s one thing we can do: crave out little time pockets just for us. It can be as small as 10 minutes in the morning for deep breathing. Breath in for 5 counts, out for 8. Or, 5 minutes of chair stretches while seated at your desk. Or, how about 5 minutes sitting with your eyes closed before you drive home? Maybe 10 minutes before bed to write down one thought. These small time pockets can change the day as you know they are exclusively yours.

3: never stop being curious

The brain needs contant prodding and if it doesn’t get challenged, it can go south fast. We don’t want that. So, download a puzzle app and make one a day. Read something new, maybe a friend’s recommendation. What a short movie or clip from a genre unfamiliar to you.

Keeping the brain active isn’t something you feel while you puzzle, read, or watch something new. But it becomes evident in you suddenly thinking about the movie’s plot or looking forward to the next puzzle or, remembering where you read something similar.

Selfcare isn’t about being selfish. Selfcare is necessary because, if you don’t take care of yourself, how can you have enough energy to be there for others?